An anthropologist who thinks we aren’t apes


Jonathan Marks has written a terribly wrong-headed article — it’s embarrassingly bad, especially for someone who claims to be writing popular anthropology articles. He’s adamant that humans aren’t apes. He’s not denying evolutionary descent from a common ancestor, he just seems to fail to understand the nature of taxonomic categories.

What are we? We are human. Apes are hairy, sleep in trees, and fling their poo. I should make it clear: Nobody likes apes more than I do; I support their preservation in the wild and their sensitive treatment in captivity. I also don’t think I’m better than them. I’m smarter than they are, and they are stronger than I am. I’m just not one of them, regardless of my ancestry. I am different from them. And so are you. You and I have 46 chromosomes in our cells; chimpanzees have 48. They are indeed very similar, but if you know what to look for, you can tell their cells apart quite readily.

Wow. So wrong.

He’s confusing species with higher levels of the taxonomic hierarchy, that is, the leaves for the branches. If he’s going to take that attitude, there are no apes anywhere — there is no single species we’d call “apes”. Chimpanzees could similarly protest that they aren’t apes, they have a set of characteristics that distinguish them from those other apes, gorillas, humans, and orangutans. Gorillas could announce that they are Gorilla gorilla gorillia, not some damn dirty ape like chimps or humans or orangutans. And so on.

Of course we’re apes. We’re members of a broad group of related animals, and we call that taxonomic group the apes. What he’s doing is similar to if I declared that I’m not human, I’m an American — rejecting affiliation with a general category to claim exclusive membership to a subcategory.

And he goes on and on about it. Sorry, but I detest that definition by chromosome number. Are Down syndrome people not human? Minor rearrangements of chromosomes are fairly common — do they break some membership rule, so that you’re kicked out of the human club if you don’t have your genes in the right order?

He also has a cartoonish definition of apes. They live in trees and are hairy and throw poo. Again, it’s using the circumstantial to displace the general. “Ape” is a statement of relationship, not an individual — so to deny your apishness is to deny your history.

He almost sort of gets it.

And indeed we–that is, Homo sapiens–fall phylogenetically within the group that we call “apes.” Shouldn’t that make us apes?


On the other hand, we also fall phylogenetically within the group that we call “fish.” That is to say, a coelacanth is more closely related to us than it is to a trout. So we fall within the category that encompasses both coelacanths and trout, namely, fish.

Yes! He almost has it!

Then, failure.

Yet we are not fish. There are certainly things to be understood by confronting our fish ancestry (such as our gestation in a saline, aqueous environment), but fish can’t read, so if you are reading this, then you are not a fish.

Jonathan Marks: go back to school and learn some cladistics. You don’t identify a clade by autapomorphies, or traits that are novel to a species, like reading. It’s like declaring that zebrafish have horizontal stripes, and fish don’t have stripes, therefore they are not fish. It’s stupid on multiple levels.

Until you’ve mastered the basic concepts, I’d appreciate it if you stopped miseducating the public, too.


  1. says

    What are we? We are human. Apes are hairy, sleep in trees, and fling their poo.

    I know that Marks thinks this is some sort of great distinguishment, but really, it isn’t. Humans, often hairy. Tree houses, they are a thing. I’d love to have one. (And I’ve slept in a tree more than once.) As for shit flinging, well, we’re pretty damn good at that.

  2. barbaz says

    Is there an official definition of the scientific meaning of the word “fish”? In particular, who decided whether the “fish” group is monophyletic or paraphyletic? (from the colloquial use of the word, I would expect “fish” to be defined as “vertebrate except tetrapods” or something like that)

  3. schini says

    Even if we were to go that road and say “apes are all those in that particular clade, except for us”; it does not change anything. There would still be the clade “apes + us”, we would need an additional word for that. It does not change, that we are part of that group.
    Marks just does not want “to be” an ape. Well, sorry, it’s not a choice.

  4. says

    I’m all for saying that we are apes, because many people out there do not realize that the common ancestor of all “apes” also was our ancestor. Marks pays lip service to this but does not emphasize it enough. There are lots of older texts around that say that although we share a common ancestor with apes, that ancestor was not an ape. That is now embarrassingly wrong. It causes the reader to think that there was an earlier fork in the tree, with humans diverging one way and the lineage leading to all apes going the other.

    That view was suspected to be wrong even by Darwin, but it persisted simply because humans have a great resistance to admitting their connection to apes. By the 1960s scientists had largely abandoned that delusion, but many people do not know that and need to be straightened out on that. So yes, let’s do say that we are apes.

    However, are we “fish”? It depends on whether we are speaking of the evolutionary tree (in which case, yes), or speaking in popular terms (no). How about terms like “reptile” and “invertebrate”? Phylogenetically, we are reptiles, and so are birds, But most people don’t know that groups like Class Reptilia are gone from the classification system. Would people like to keep using some term for the non-bird non-mammal amniotes?

    Are we allowed to say that cephalopods are invertebrates? Are we allowed to say “invertebrate” when that is not a monophyletic group? Can we call some eukaryotes “protists”? There is no such monophyletic group.

  5. stevenjohnson2 says

    I’m pretty sure the man is talking common language, not scientific terminology.

    In scientific terminology, races are descent groups. These descent groups can be identified, more or less, by genomic analysis. This is established science. I do not think therefore that anyone who dares claim that in everyday language “race” is a meaningless word is spouting anti-scientific nonsense. I think Marks is making this kind of claim. He’s saying that chimpanzee studies are not very relevant to the study of humanity because they are a different kind of animal. I think this point is pretty obvious. And the vociferous outrage that someone denies the power of genes is misplaced, and backward to boot.

    I think Myers and the comments hostile to Marks here have left themselves in the unhappy position of endorsing one of the most dubious pillars of evolutionary psychology, the insistence that there has been eons of time to create human psychology by natural selection. Modern humans have only arisen within (according to the latest information I have,) from 100 000 to 70 000 years ago. “Archaic” modern humans, quite aside from being something of an oxymoron, go back maybe 200 000 years. It appears to me that the best archaeological marker of modern humans is cultural change. This omits not just homo erectus but the Neandertals. (I think the scarcity of Denisovans is suggestive of a limited cultural suite.) The Neandertals just did not change culturally the way that geologically modern people did.

    Yet clearly modern humans are closely genetically related to Neandertals and Denisovans, and descended from homo erectus. The pop evo psych invocation of millions of years of evolution that must have created the human clearly depends upon the biological commonalities, the apeness, off all these, all the way back to the original ape ancestor. Except that given the biological sameness, the cultural variation is just that: Cultural. Culture is even more than all but the most wild-eyed blank slater claimed! Insisting on the importance of clade descent is to insist, despite the gross evidence of the archaeological record, that biology is more than but the wildest genetic determinist claimed.

    Lastly, I’m not sure that one can even claim that humans can’t be a new clade, which as I recall is defined by retention of ancestral traits. If, as appears nearly certain to me, instinct is the opposite of intelligence as humans know it, then the lost of ape instincts in the humans, is not the appearance of an autapomorphy, but the loss of an ancestral trait. And thus biologically, a new clade?

  6. Marshall says

    @Gwen Sutton #2 You are entirely correct, except that Jonathan Marks here makes no mention of colloquial versus scientific terminology, and the entire article is portrayed from the scientific perspective. For example,

    the argument that “we are apes” is not a valid evolutionary one

    makes pretty explicit the fact that he is attacking the scientific term of “ape” and not the colloquial one. He is dead wrong.

  7. says

    Ugh. John Hawks, too?

    The problem is that common terms are being conflated with more rigorous terms. Apes are “hairy poo-flinging tree dwellers”. Fish are “torpedo shaped aquatic vertebrates.” If you want to argue that we don’t live in trees or in the water, then sure, we’re not apes or fish. But those are poor definitions to begin with.

  8. says

    I think Myers and the comments hostile to Marks here have left themselves in the unhappy position of endorsing one of the most dubious pillars of evolutionary psychology

    You heard it here, first! PZ Myers is an evolutionary psychologist!!!!

  9. numerobis says

    stevenjohnson2@6: a number of birds and mammals have culture: off the top of my head I can think of crows (who teach each other about making hooks), some songbirds (who teach each other songs, and adapt them), chimps, dolphins, elephants, …

    Your claim that pre-Homo sapiens hominids lacked any kind of cultural change strikes me as extremely dubious.

    Evo-psych’s most dubious pillar isn’t that psychology is heavily influenced by evolution (it obviously is) but that their output is a bunch of just-so stories unencumbered by reality.

  10. =8)-DX says

    The problem with cladistics is that most people aren’t taught it and so after you finish explaining to your kid that whales, unlike other fish are mammals, you have to go on to explain that they are in fact also fish. So a dolphin is a fish with a land-mammal past.. and then explain That most people use the word fish to mean the paraphyletic group, so in that sense none of the previous ex-land-dwelling animals is a fish.

  11. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    Monophyletism, how does it work?


    I’m not sure that one can even claim that humans can’t be a new clade

    Nobody is saying that it can’t, because of course it can, it’s called genus Homo. And if you want to be extra-exceptionalist, you can go one further to the next clade: Homo sapiens.
    The question is, why can’t “ape” be a clade? Why should it be used as a paraphyletic group? Is it just to protect the feelings of human exceptionalists who think their relative lack of fur makes them superduperspecial? I think it’s far more valuable to use it in a monophyletic sense, because that way it’s informative, it reflects real, natural groups and it puts us in our place. It doesn’t mean we are not unique, it doesn’t diminish our achievements or our abilities, but it doesn’t pretend that we are somehow owed a special treatment whithin classifications, formal or informal.
    By the way, “vertebrate” is used in a monophyletic sense. Nobody seems to have a problem with that, even though that puts us in the same category of not just shit-flinging chimpanzees, but also cows, and chickens, toads, salmon…We are fine with that being used as if it were a formal clade, as we are with “mammal” or “primate” but when it comes to “apes” or “fish”, somehow it becomes a problem? Dafuck? Zero consistency…just irrationality…

  12. Kevin Anthoney says

    Two reasons I know I’m an ape:

    1) My Dad told me once that when he was younger he’d just sit anywhere, but now he was older he really enjoyed just sitting in one particular chair. He didn’t know why, he said. And the first thing I thought of was a big old Orang-utan sitting in his favourite tree. So Dad’s an ape, therefore I am too.

    2) If I’m watching the football and my team executes a brilliant passing move that scythes through the opposition defence, only for the striker to screw the shot inches wide of the goal, I emit an ‘Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!” noise that’s 100% pure chimpanzee.

  13. adamkamp says

    Could someone explain to me what’s wrong with the fish point he makes?

    I truly ask patience. This is something very much outside my ken. I could try to figure it out on Wikipedia or whatever, but I’d probably get it wrong, so if someone could explain it directly (including defining terms), I’d appreciate it. (I’m smart, but ignorant of this.)

  14. says

    I think Myers and the comments hostile to Marks here have left themselves in the unhappy position of endorsing one of the most dubious pillars of evolutionary psychology, the insistence that there has been eons of time to create human psychology by natural selection.

    You’ve got it exactly backwards. How do you go from my argument that we share a lot in common with our fellow apes to saying I’m claiming something about human exceptionalism?

    Lastly, I’m not sure that one can even claim that humans can’t be a new clade, which as I recall is defined by retention of ancestral traits.

    Humans are a clade, that contains one extant species. A clade is a group of organisms containing the last common ancestor and all of its descendants. All humans had a common ancestor.

  15. says

    Is there evidence of octopus teaching each other? Or any other invertebrate?

    Experiment was performed by putting 2 octopi in tanks on opposite sides of the room. One octopus was given a shrimp in a bottle with a cork in it. After some examination and experimentation, the octopus figured out a way of gripping the bottle and extracting the cork and shrimp. When the other octopus was given the same shimp-in-a-bottle prop, it immediately performed the same operation as the first octopus. There are details like number of experimental runs, but learning by observation appears to be an octopus thing. Which puts them ahead of Richard Dawkins, I suppose.

    There is also an octopus that has a go pro and has figured out how to use it. Google for octopus photographer and you’ll see nice pictures it has taken of ugly children goggling at it through the glass that protects it from all the horrible creatures.

  16. says

    Yes, this is so stupid. We aren’t fish, but we are chordates. If you haven’t checked out the Open Tree of Life yet, do it now. You may become obsessed.

    Want to find yourself? Want to find yourself?

    Click as follows: Eukaryota –> Holozoa –> Metazoa –> Bilateria and Placazoa –> Deutorostomia and Protostomia –> Tunicata and Chordata –> Vertebrata –> Euteleostomi –> Tetrapoda –> Amniota –> Mammalia –> Theria –> Eutheria –> Euarchontoglires –> Primates –> Happlorhini –> Simiiformes –> Cattarhini –> Hominidae –> Homininae –> Homo.

  17. woozy says

    Even if we ignore monophyllic cladistics (I haven’t heard a good explanation why monophylic cladistics differs from paraphylic cladistics other than semantics) and we allow ourselves to consider ourselves “ex-fish” and “ex-amphibians” , to call ourselves “ex-apes” wouldn’t there need to be definitive characters of apes that we no longer have? I mean, we can’t call ourselves “ex-vertebrates” or “ex-mammals” because we still have backbones and bear young and have fur. To not be apes, wouldn’t there have to be something that defines apes that doesn’t apply to us?

    So far as I can tell, the article never mentions *anything* that apes must have to be apes that we don’t.

  18. stevenjohnson2 says

    “You’ve got it exactly backwards. How do you go from my argument that we share a lot in common with our fellow apes to saying I’m claiming something about human exceptionalism?”

    If you compare the time Acheulean and Mousterian cultures* lasted with the time modern human cultures lasted, you do find compelling ground for one kind of human exceptionalism. Instead of acknowledging that, you have doubled down on emphasizing the importance of the origins of present humanity in ancestral ape populations. But we know genetics aren’t determinative in any normal sense because Neandertal for one was not even a separate species! So, yes, if a dude wants to talk in normal language about how people aren’t apes (not about cladistics,)then you attack him so fiercely… yes, I do think you are implicitly denying human exceptionalism in every sense, not just common ancestry. Many creationists and more racists are down with genetic determinism, so no, I’m not sure that vainly trying to insist on proper cladistic terminology is helpful. Worse, the whole primate order seems to be defined by having fingernails! Is primate taxonomy really the foundation for understanding humanity?

    I don’t think I’ve gotten anything backward, I think I’ve just drawn out an implication.

    “Humans are a clade, that contains one extant species. A clade is a group of organisms containing the last common ancestor and all of its descendants. All humans had a common ancestor.”

    This I must apologize for, i could have sworn that you were insisting humans were not a separate clade. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    *Acheulean more or less homo erectus, Mousterian more or less Neandertal.

  19. jmpur says

    I guess it sort of depends on one’s preference. If you take Hennig and cladism as the last word in systematics and taxonomy, I suppose there is no arguing that we’re with the apes. If you subscribe to Mayr and Simpson and the whole evolutionary taxonomy bit, which does its best to consider common ancestry + degree of phyletic change (or at least that’s my [limited] understanding of the concept), then I guess it’s a matter of opinion. No idea what the pheneticists think. I’m sure it involves numerous data matrices and a big pile of perfectly objective assumptions ;)

  20. chrislawson says

    stevenjohnson2@25: Two problems with your comment…

    1. Nothing in PZ’s article supports evopsych in any manner whatsoever — you may be surprised to learn that PZ and most commenters here are savagely critical of the evopsych field.

    2. A clade is any group of organisms including (1) a common ancestor and (2) all its lineal descendants. There is no magic barrier that makes one such group a clade and another not a clade. In evolutionary theory it is usually used to describe groups of species, but as a general principle, me and my children are also a clade. I am in the clade of mammals, and the clade of fishes, but not the clade of arthropods.

    So, sure, you can define humans as a clade all by themselves (or hominins if you want to be more general since we’re the only surviving species), and if someone wants to make themselves feel superior and special in that way, good luck to them. But it’s not really special. After all, you could say the same about chimpanzees, or bonobos, or crocodiles, or psylocybe mushrooms. Really, you can clip off a clade wherever it makes you feel least psychologically confronted. But that’s not what Jonathan Marks did. He claimed that he was not in the clade of apes. And that is just plain wrong. And he uses a particularly stupid argument (chromosome count) as accompaniment.

  21. chrislawson says

    OTOH, thinking about this made me realise that cladistically speaking, whales are fish after all.

  22. Pseudonym says

    Are we fish? I’m pretty sure that “fish” is defined explicitly as a paraphyletic group that excludes tetrapods, unlike the monophyletic apes. Is “fish” just a synonym for vertebrates?

    These definitions are pretty arbitrary after all, and linguistic prescriptivism is tedious. If I mentioned that I had fish for dinner last night, would you suspect me of being a cannibal, or maybe of just grilling up some hamburgers? If someone claimed that they saw an ape at the zoo, asking if they saw it in the mirror isn’t particularly clever. I agree that the distinctions made in the referenced piece are specious, but there’s room for both cladistic and non-cladistic definitions of terms, and the reason biologists refer to hominoids is that the term “ape” is ambiguous and imprecise enough to invite misunderstanding.

  23. Athywren - Frustration Familiarity Panda says

    We are human. Apes are hairy, sleep in trees, and fling their poo.

    Most humans are hairy (though, granted, to a lesser degree than other apes), plenty of us have slept in trees, and while it’s not common or pleasant, I have seen humans fling their poo.

    …do apes sleep in trees, though? As a rule? I don’t know… I’m suspicious of that claim.

  24. Athywren - Frustration Familiarity Panda says

    @Pseudonym, 31

    Are we fish? I’m pretty sure that “fish” is defined explicitly as a paraphyletic group that excludes tetrapods, unlike the monophyletic apes. Is “fish” just a synonym for vertebrates?

    I’m pretty sure the definition for “fish” includes gills, so only Kevin Costner counts.
    …it’s ok, stop judging me, I’ve never actually seen that film.

  25. Pseudonym says

    Athywren @32:
    I don’t think gorillas can even climb trees, but maybe we and they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

    Athywren @33:
    I have. It’s not good, by any means, but it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be. It’s a dumb but moderately entertaining way-over-budget Mad Max on water, if I remember correctly.

  26. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    You do not know what a clade is.
    A clade is a monophyletic taxon or group. ANY monophyletic taxon…So Homo is a clade, Homininae is a clade, Hominidae is a clade, Hominoidea (apes) is a clade, Catarrhini (old world monkeys) is a clade, Primates is a clade, Mammalia is a clade, Amniota is a clade, Tetrapoda is a clade, Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish), Teleostomi, Osteichthyes is a clade, Chordata is a clade, Vetebrata is a clade. We are members of ALL of those clades (and more).
    However, the paraphyletic way in which people use “fish” and Mr. ShittyAntropologist above and many others are trying to use “ape” makes them NOT clades. The problem, is that he is equivocating “ape” and “fish” with actual, monophyletic clades in one part of the paragraph, and making them paraphyletic and definitely not cladistic, in the other. Which is ridiculous. If you are declaring that “ape” is equivalent to a formal clade (Hominoidea), then yes, we absolutely, 100% are apes. You don’t get to then a few words later, change to a paraphyletic sense of that same word and claim it excludes us because reasons and mesospecial…
    The same goes for “fish”. If you declare it equivalent to an existing clade, which is exactly what he is doing, we are fish. Period.
    Either reject that “ape” or “fish” should be used monophyletically, or accept that they can be and that it’s useful to do so, but make up your fucking mind and stop changing from one to the other in the same sentence as if that makes any sense whatsoever.

  27. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    @33 Athywren
    If it includes anything with gills, we are definitely fish. Surely the fact that we never fully develop them as structures with “gill activity” is not very important contrasted with the fact that we have them. Having them at one point but loosing them later on surely qualifies, or else tadpoles are fish but frogs and toads aren’t and some salamanders are fish, but others are not. In biology that’s called a very shitty definition.

    By the way, now i want to watch Waterworld.

  28. Dunc says

    stevenjohnson2, #25:

    If you compare the time Acheulean and Mousterian cultures* lasted with the time modern human cultures lasted

    Are you really sure that Acheulean and Mousterian cultures were as monolithic and unvarying as you seem to imply, or could it be that they only appear that way because we have a such a limited amount of evidence to look at? There’s a very common problem in anthropology whereby cultures tend to appear much less variable to outsiders than they really are, and this is only going to be worse when dealing with long extinct cultures we can only reconstruct from fragmentary evidence. Cultural variation also tends to be flattened out by both cultural and temporal distance.

  29. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    @37 Cat Mara
    It is. We have hair all over our bodies, even the people that appear to be “smooth”, but it’s very fine hair. We even seem to have a similar density of hair follicles as other apes throughout our bodies. The distinction is sometimes made by some people that we are not hairless, we are furless.

  30. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    I was just reading the comments on his article and someone pointed out that he’s a Templeton Fellow. Hmmm.

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was just reading the comments on his article and someone pointed out that he’s a Templeton Fellow. Hmmm.

    Hmmm is right. There was a certain air about his claims.

  32. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @ Cat Mara #37, further to Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia’s #39,

    Excluding the soles of our feet and the palms of our hands, but this is also the same in other great apes.

  33. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Possible correction to my 42,

    I think the hairless palms and soles might be common to all primates, not just apes, but I haven’t found a definitive answer.

  34. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    It is, and it’s also very widespread among mammals, although there are significant exceptions, of course.

  35. Athywren - Frustration Familiarity Panda says

    @Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia, 36

    I think the definition also includes a lack of fingers, but then the Waterworld reference falls flat.
    But yes, it’s a pretty shitty definition. It’s a paraphylum, I think? I’m not a biologist, but reputable sources have lead me to believe that “fish” doesn’t really mean much, scientifically speaking. (Obviously it means a lot of things in other senses, otherwise the fish & chip shop down the road would be in trouble, but that’s another matter.)

  36. says

    Unless I’m much mistaken, Jonathan Marks is a Cultural Anthropologist.

    I’m one, too.

    You would not believe the amount of woo I had to wade through in many (though not all!) of my Cultural Anthropology classes. In my Anthropology of Religion class, a group of us got into a huge fight with the teacher after she actually compared science to Voudon, actually outright saying that they are the same thing. It started when I asked her if she was talking about cultural lenses and the viewing of the viewing of the world through such (which would make sense… the people who practice Voudon might very well think of it in much the same way we think of science; they would not necessarily be right, but that they would have that perception would not be surprising), but she did not. She quite literally questioned what the difference was. Others took up the fight from there.

    I had been hoping that she was just an outlier, but no… I had another teacher for Anthropology of Nature who actually called DNA a “cultural construct” (note: not our perception of DNA, but DNA itself). I did not challenge her directly, I’m sorry say (I am personally rather terrified of face-to-face confrontations; always have been), but I did write a journal challenging the idea and defending DNA and our understanding of it as real, and not cultural constructs, including actual pictures of actual DNA. While she gave me full marks for the journal, she never commented on it, so I’ve no idea what she actually thought of it.

    My Primatology, physical anthropology, and evolutionary biology classes became a refuge, as y’all can imagine.

    The problem I notice within Cultural Anthropology is that there’s a lot of skepticism of hard science (which sounds like an oxymoron, but there you go). It’s not necessarily a rejection outright. It’s not exactly denial in the classic sense (Young-Earth Creationism and the like), either.

    It’s the problem of relativism. It’s a very powerful and important concept when you’re studying other cultures. But it can be taken way too far, to the point of using culture as a means of basically denying hard reality. This is, in fact, the core of that philosophy that we know nothing and that knowledge is merely opinion.

    I think this is why scientists deny the social sciences as science… this happens a lot in the social sciences. So while I definitely consider myself on the road to becoming a scientist (even if it’s a social scientist), I do in fact sympathize with those in the hard sciences giving the side-eye to those of us in the soft sciences. With so much woo and other bullshit, I can only agree.

  37. tyroneslothrop says


    You are mistaken. Jonathan Marks is not a cultural anthropologist. You might want to do some basic research before you make such claims. How hard is it to google Marks and visit his page at UNCC? Apparently too hard for you.

    I certainly hope, since you claim to be a cultural anthropologist, that you don’t actually teach anthropology at the university or college level. You seem profoundly ignorant about a great many things concerning cultural anthropology and, to be honest, anthropology more generally. There are any number of kinds of cultural anthropologists (or sociocultural anthropologists) and they have any number of methods and theories. You seem to be comfortable making strawman arguments based on your limited engagement with cultural anthropology (which turn, it appears, on your anecdotal claims about your classes). You have conflated your opinion with knowledge. Most cultural anthropologists know better than to do that. The American Anthropological Association meetings are in Denver in a couple weeks, you should go and perhaps listen and, who knows, learn.

  38. leerudolph says

    woozy: “So far as I can tell, the article never mentions *anything* that apes must have to be apes that we don’t.”

    Well, duh. Apes have a natural apetitude.